Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) [pronounced: sée-til mee-ris-tóe-lee-ate] is a cetylated fatty acid patients may use topically or orally for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and relief of various types of back and joint pain. CMO has been shown to manage arthritic symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis. A specific blend of cetylated fatty acids that include CMO, as well as soy lecithin and fish oil, seems to decrease pain and improve knee range of motion and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Applying the same blend topically also appears to have the same positive effect.1
CMOs were initially isolated from mice that were immune to chemically-induced arthritis. Researchers theorize that CMO has surfactant effects which lubricates the joints and muscles, softens tissues, and increases pliability. CMO is also thought to be a modulator of the immune system and a mediator of inflammation, thus may decrease inflammation.1 A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology showed improvement in knee range of motion and improved ability to climb stairs, rise from a chair, and walk in patients with osteoarthritis. They also noted improved balance, strength, and endurance with only 30 days of therapy where patients were using cetylated fatty acid in a topical cream that was applied twice daily.2
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) products that contain CMO in combination with other cetylated fatty acids, but compounding pharmacies have access to pure CMO, the main ingredient that researchers believe helps to reduce arthritic symptoms. As a compounding pharmacy, Community Pharmacy would be able to utilize pure CMO to compound creams and capsules, which would provide similar, if not better, results compared to the cetylated fatty acid blend. We recommend compounded CMO 2% topical Lipoderm, applied three times daily until pain subsides, and then reducing the strength to the lowest dosage for maintenance; other people prefer oral medication, which they can take 1 gram a day for two to three weeks that can last for months up to a year, or a maintenance dose of 250-500mg daily to manage arthritic symptoms.3 Another compound we recommend for arthritis relief is Glutathione 20% Topical Lipoderm cream applied three times a day directly to the affected joints.3
- Cetyl Myristoleate. In: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty. [Updated March 6, 2015; Accessed May 18, 2016].
- Glasnapp A. Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) Therapies for Arthritis. Apothagram. May 2010:3.
- Glasnapp A. A New Approach to Arthritis. Apothagram. May 2016:5.